‘Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings’ (2000) consists of two glass and steel vitrines containing air-blowers above which ping-pong balls are kept in a state of constant flux.
Part of the artist’s ‘Mental Escapology’ series, the piece was first shown in the exhibition of the same name presented at Gagosian Gallery, New York, in 2000. The show marked a key development in Hirst’s approach: “You start off questioning things around you – like your parents, like previous artists. You kick against what exists. And then you get to a point when you start to become the thing that exists. And I think that’s when it gets personal. Instead of talking about ‘the world’, you start talking about individuals. And that individual is yourself.”
The exhibition took scientific research as its organisational criterion. It was accompanied by a catalogue – published in 2000 by Gagosian Gallery – which incorporated journal articles Hirst related to his new works. In the case of ‘Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings’ this was a study into the epidemiology of interpersonal violence. Whilst earlier works in the ‘Mental Escapology’ series, such as ‘Loving in a World of Desire’ (1996), had been playful in its colour palette and incorporation of a bobbing beach ball, the ping-pong balls in ‘Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings’ are instead likened by the artist to white blood cells.